We Sold Our DJI Drone and Camera Gear – Are We Crazy?

Dariece Swift author's bio Goats On The Road

Grenada seems to be the place where we make some of our biggest decisions – both personal and professional. It’s probably because we have lots of downtime to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and to create goals for what we want to achieve.

This past year brought us to Central and Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean. We had wonderful experiences, most of which were documented through videos created on our Youtube Channel.

Nick flew the drone over beautiful Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, and we both crossed our fingers as we sent it on a precarious flight through the Azure Window in Gozo. The drone captured epic shots of the beaches in Barbados, Puerto Rico and Grenada.

travel to albania drone

We filmed waterfalls, rainforests, fortresses, cities, beaches, mountains and vineyards.

We’ve had a lot of good times and made some incredible videos over the past two years.

So, why did we decide to sell our drone?

First, I should say that it’s not just the drone we sold. We parted ways with our Vanguard camera bag, our beloved Feiyu-Tech Gimbal, iPad Mini 2, and two GoPros as well.

The simple answer to why we sold this equipment is that these items were no longer bringing us any joy, and were taking away from our travel experiences.

selling our drone and camera gear

Was Our Gear Ruining Travel Moments?

Picture this: a serene location on the border of Montenegro and Bosnia, with nothing (or no one) around except for a shepherd, his flock of sheep, a remote church and a glistening lake.

We pulled over to check out this gorgeous setting during our road trip. We sat down, had a picnic lunch and enjoyed listening to the baaing of the sheep and clanking of the brass bells around their necks.

But, then we both thought “we should be filming this for our round-up video”.

Out came the drone. We twisted on the propellers, hooked up the iPad, turned on the app, set up the controller, calibrated the compass, sent it into the air, and zipped it over the sheep and the shepherd. Nick circled it around the church to get the perfect shot, while I co-piloted and kept an eye on it.

travelling with a drone in montenegro

The drone is loud and obnoxious and was whizzing around for 20 minutes until the battery ran out, and we had the photos and clips that we wanted.

Our picnic and peaceful setting was disturbed, and surely the sheep weren’t happy with the sound from the drone either. But, we did it because we felt like we had to… A magical moment – tainted.

While we were staying at Lake Ohrid, we ended up being there for the incredible Epiphany Celebrations. Naturally, we decided to film the event.

Nick stood out on the dock with his gimbal and GoPro attached, while I stood closer to shore with the Sony camera. This way, we could capture all angles of what was about to happen. Plus, we had flown the drone just moments before.

Men ran into the freezing cold lake and swam towards a cross that was tossed into the water by the priest.

travelling with a drone to lake ohrid

I was bumping into people to try to get the best view that I could, while Nick was half ignoring the men who were on the dock with him as they tried to explain what the festival was all about.

The two of us didn’t enjoy the holy ceremony together, but chose to be separate so that we could get the right clips. We didn’t learn much about the event until after we were done filming, but worst of all, we weren’t in the momentA unique ceremony seen and experienced entirely through a lens. 

Another prime example was when we were enjoying a pasta making class in Rome. We arrived at an apartment with 2 chefs to greet us, and 6 other travellers. We were all there to learn how to make pasta from scratch, fill our faces with food, and wash it all down with wine.

The apartment was spectacular and so were the views of Rome. It was going to be a great evening.

But, we had to make a video of the class, right?

Out came the Feiyu-Tech Gimbal with GoPro attached, and the Sony Nex-6 camera.

Rather than laughing, learning and enjoying the evening with everyone, we were the annoying filmmakers.

travelling in rome pasta making class

The chef had to “wait a minute” for us to get the camera ready to get a good shot of him dropping the pasta in the pot. The other travellers had to “hold on just a second” while we spoke to the camera about what we were going to do next with our pasta.

Even though the food was delicious and the company was good, we were preoccupied with how the episode was going to flow, and which clips we needed in order to create a video of our pasta making class.

Seems strange, right?!

The fact of the matter is that our videos were starting to seriously get in the way of our travels and our overall experiences while on the road. We were starting to see the world through a lens. Our whole life was a storyboard and we felt like we were missing out on what makes this life so incredible… travel itself.

Travelling With A Drone

We also believe that to be good travel bloggers, we need to be good travellers first. If we’re constantly trying to get the perfect shot, then the feelings that we’re actually having behind the scenes will be tainted and different from those of a normal traveller.

This means that the adventures and lifestyle that we try to share with you will be less sincere and authentic. By putting travel first, we’ll be able to share more accurately what each destination feels like for travellers.

We Felt Obligated To Capture Everything

We know that no one makes us take clips or photos, and that it’s all by our own choice, but because we’ve gained an audience and have created a YouTube channel, we feel like we need to keep up with content.

Each time we arrived in a new city or country, we’d always think about which clips we needed to get to make our GoatLife TV episode. We would be excited for the new destination, but would then start stressing out and worrying about flying the drone.

We need the perfect weather.

Hopefully no one is around.

Are we allowed to fly it here?

Which is the best spot to take it off from?

These thoughts, and many more, would totally consume our visit.

travelling to dubrovnik with a drone

Is It Just Us?

I’m sure that not everyone who owns a drone and makes travel videos feels like we did. I’m also certain that many people can arrive somewhere new and not even worry about flying their drone.

Nick is a perfectionist when it comes to editing videos and getting the best clips possible, while I always worried about annoying the people around us with our loud piece of equipment. We both disliked the group of bystanders that would inevitably form a circle around us.

This is all behind the scenes. The stuff that isn’t shown in our videos. But practically every time we would launch the drone up into the air, we’d receive a crowd of spectators. Fair enough though, as a drone is an interesting gadget that you don’t see every day.

travelling with a drone in malta

It’s difficult to focus on not losing the drone while it’s in the air, not crashing it into anything, and getting the best shot. But on top of that, we would have to answer numerous questions from people:

What is that?!

How much does it cost?

How far can it fly?

Where can I get one?

How long does the battery last?

Not to mention, when we were travelling in some areas of the world that maybe aren’t as wealthy as many western countries, we felt awkward saying that it costs $1000.

travelling with a drone to grenada

One woman in Montenegro opened up her window, yelled down “How much does that cost?!” and when we replied, she shook her head and slammed the window.

Which brings me to my next point about why we decided to sell the drone and various camera gear…

The Rich Traveller

Even though our MacBook laptops cost more money than a drone does, there’s just something about a flying camera that screams “Look at me, I’m rich!” I mean, we must be, right? We have a flying camera!

This obviously isn’t how we think of ourselves, (not to mention the cost of drones has reduced significantly), and it certainly isn’t what we want other travellers and locals thinking of us. This not only makes us feel uncomfortable, but makes us a target for theft.

Drones and motorized gimbals are a commodity, unlike laptops.

travelling with a drone in puerto rico

In 2017 we plan to visit a wide variety of countries, on numerous continents. First up is South America, which is known for having extremely high crime rates. Unfortunately, we’ve heard one too many stories of travellers having their gear stolen by fellow backpackers and locals.

We both know we wouldn’t feel comfortable flying our drone in many spots there, and we also know that transportation isn’t as nice (safe) as it was in Europe. Risking our drone being stolen, or us getting attacked for our gear, just didn’t seem like something we wanted to deal with.

Selling our backpack full of expensive camera kit before heading to South America just seemed like a good idea, albeit not the main reason for our decision to sell.

Our Feeling of Relief

We said goodbye to our drone and camera equipment just yesterday. And to be completely honest, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders…both literally and figuratively!

All of that gear was very heavy, and for “nomads” like us, having to carry that bag from place to place became a bit cumbersome. Now Nick doesn’t have to lug around two large backpacks (one on his front and one on his back), he can just have his Osprey pack!

travelling without a drone backpacking

We couldn’t be happier with our decision!

We want to travel.

We want to experience the world through our eyes, not a lens.

We want be more in the moment.

Having to create a weekly video with the expectation that there would be drone clips was a lot of pressure for us, and to be fair, we put that pressure on ourselves. Making travel videos is supposed to be fun, but instead it became a bit of a chore and really stressed us out over time.

As soon as the money and gear were exchanged yesterday, we were both smiling. The man who purchased it was very happy, and so were we. So thrilled in fact that we went out and celebrated with cocktails and sunset.

travelling with a drone backpacking

So, What’s Next?

You may think that we’re giving up on videos altogether, but we’re not! We’re just changing the style of how we do them.

If you watched our J’ouvert video from Grenada, you probably wouldn’t have even known that it was filmed entirely with our iPhone 6s Plus, but it was. Normally we would have used a gimbal, GoPro, microphone, drone and even the Sony camera…but it was all done with our phone!

The video turned out great, editing was simple and the feedback was very positive. In fact, it received more comments and views than most of our more complex videos do.

This made us start to think about why we were spending so many hours and using advanced camera equipment to make a professional looking travel video. It seems like these days people enjoy simple, short, amateur shots just as much (or more).

We still have one GoPro camera with an underwater casing so that when Nick is scuba diving he can get a few clips. We still have our Sony Nex-6 camera which takes great video in low lighting. We also have our iPhone that I listed above, which takes really good videos as well.

Rather than doing a weekly video, we’ve decided to do “round-up” videos of the country / city that we’re in. This way, we can just take clips at random as we are travelling around and then at the end of the trip, we can put together an awesome, easy to edit video!

We also think that in the long run, these types of videos will be much more useful for our viewers as they will get a better idea of the best things to do in a particular country, all within a 5 minute(ish) video.

travel to malta scuba diving gozo

We’ll show off the highlights, our favourite things, and the “must-do’s” of every country we visit.

Our videos might be published weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It all depends on how long we spend in each spot, and how many videos we feel like creating.

And who knows? Maybe Nick will miss having a drone we’ll end up buying another one somewhere down the line. For now though, we’re both just looking forward to travelling with less gear.

We will also be keeping up with our Facebook Live Videos because they are fun to make and are easy to do. We love sharing our interesting travel moments with you, and Facebook seems to be the way to go.

We’re Hashing (hiking) through the neighbourhoods and bush of the Grand Anse / St. George area in beautiful #grenada! We’re sweating, but the landscapes are unbelievably beautiful 😊

Posted by Goats On The Road on Saturday, July 23, 2016


We have however, decided not to do Instagram Stories anymore as they too were taking over our life. We realized the effects that video stories were having on us while we were capturing every moment of date night… how romantic!

We don’t have any regrets about selling our gear, and we’re glad that we were honest with ourselves, and one another, about what we truly want for the future of our travels, and our website. In the end, parting ways with our drone and extensive camera kit just felt like the right thing to do.

Do you think we’re crazy for selling our drone…when everyone else is buying one? Do you think we should have kept our camera gear, or can you understand why we decided to sell? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Like this Post? Pin it!



Dariece Swift author's bio Goats On The Road

Written by

Dariece Swift

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course... travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 12 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel.

Related Posts

thailand feature image

15 Pros and Cons of Living in Thailand

Whenever people ask me what my most memorable travel destination is, I always have an immediate answer – Thailand. It’s simply magical. The people are incredibly warm and friendly, the food is delicious, the beaches and mountains are stunning, and the cost of living is surprisingly affordable. There are tons of pros of living in ...
Ho Chi Minh feature image

10 Best Coworking Spaces in Ho Chi Minh City

I spent 6-weeks in Vietnam’s biggest city as a digital nomad and was spoilt for choice when it came to great locations to work from. If you’re looking for the best coworking spaces in Ho Chi Minh, you’re in the right place! From dedicated coworking setups to ideal cafes aiming to attract the digital nomad ...
Koh Samui feature image

Cost of Living in Koh Samui for Digital Nomads

If you’ve never been to Koh Samui, let me tell you, it’s one of the most incredible places on the planet. I know because I lived there for two years and even have a tattoo on my arm of the view I had -I loved it that much! One of the best things about living ...

34 thoughts on “We Sold Our DJI Drone and Camera Gear – Are We Crazy?”

  1. I loved this post, really genuine and honest. I think you made a great choice.

    While I definitely enjoyed your drone photos/videos, I can totally understand. They seem pretty loud and you can’t really be inconspicuous while flying one. Target in South America for sure.

    Where are you headed to in South America?

  2. Thanks a lot for the comment AJ! We appreciate you following along on our journey and I’m glad that you liked our “droning!” We plan to see Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru – but who knows what will happen! lol


  3. Plus your YouTube channel wasn’t really taking off so the payoff wasn’t there right?

    I don’t mean this as a snide comment but you didn’t mention it and I expect it must be a factor.

  4. Really interesting post guys. We were just talking the other day about buying better, more expensive equipment in order to make our videos better but concluded that actually we need to just get better at making videos and that the equipment shouldn’t be that important! Ha! Sx

  5. This is how I feel about Snapchat and Instastories. I already spend way to much time behind my camera and now documenting every step I take on Snapchat kind of makes me feel like I’m not truly present in my own life and merely living through a viewfinder.

  6. Yes, it was a factor as well, not the main one but definitely another reason to add to the list! The videos we create on Facebook do much better than the ones on YouTube – but to be fair, we didn’t put enough effort into building our audience on YouTube.

    We’re still creating videos for our channel though and will just be changing the style in which we do them – ie: no drone and “profession” gear. Hopefully the channel will grow 🙂


  7. Exactly! This is how we were feeling as well. We started with Instastories for 1 week and then were like…what are we doing?! Documenting every step and moment of your day seems a bit ridiculous.

    Well said. Cheers!

  8. Guys great post, Lina and I are talking at TBEX about this! To drone or not to drone! It’s hard, we have one and maybe two soon however it kills so much of our time but the payout is worth it…. I can’t believe you are giving it up, I think you just banked the money to by the new DJi out in a few weeks 😉

  9. Great post guys! It makes a lot of sense that you would get rid of something that’s so much work and hassle. It’s a lesson all travel bloggers could learn from, what with all the pressure to capture every great travel moment. We should make the effort to actually be in the moment every now and then 🙂

  10. Hey Guys! Great post. I can definitely understand the decision to sell the drone and other gear. It’s insightful how you talk about the cost of the gear too. I think about that all the time as Chris and I each carry a camera. We try to keep it discreet, but when we’re shooting I can resonate with what you’re saying. I am happy for you for that freeing feeling. We are carrying around a lens that we’re just not using and I can’t wait to sell that as well. When we do, we’ll have a cheers as well and think of you! 🙂

  11. Oh really?! Congratulations on the speaking gig you guys 🙂 We’ve never been to TBEX actually, but would like to attend one year. Are you speaking about how to earn money with a drone by working with tourism boards? Or the logistics of actually travelling around with a drone? Regardless, cool!


  12. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for the comment 🙂 It’s so true, we all want to capture our moments on camera or video and spend so much time worrying about doing so that we end up missing the actual moment.

    Cheers and happy travels!

  13. Thanks for the comment Tiffany! I can agree with you about the camera as well. We have a Sony Nex 6, but we hardly bring it out because it’s just so much easier / more discreet to take pictures with our iPhone! We’re getting a smaller camera sooner so hopefully we’ll be more inclined to bring it out with us more often 🙂

    Cheers! I hope you sell your lens soon.

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this, guys. It is a sentiment I’m sure many travelers and bloggers will echo, each in their own way. As a matter of fact, we’ve decided to take a step back from our BLOG itself, believe it or not. It’s for a similar reason—the need to write about every experience makes our living of it less in the moment. We don’t enjoy our travels as keenly when we feel the pressur to blog. It’s also not where we need to focus to make our income (which is our freelance work). So, it’s the right choice to us to focus not on our blog, but we will still focus on the area we love—Instagram! 😀 Kudos for you for changing what wasn’t working, and knowing that actually living and sharing your moments is most important of all 😀

  15. Good move. It reminds me of the freedom I felt when I quit carrying large cameras. Because I’m not a blogger everything is kept for myself. I so enjoy travelling alone and not taking pictures. Everything stays in my mind I live every moment of my trips. I do not take tons of pictures to wonder where I’ve been and I don’t buy a whole pile of souvenirs. My motto is if I can carry it I don’t need it. Enjoy your freedom.

  16. Love this post guys! Totally relate to a lot of your points in our own way. That’s in many ways why we needed to take a break from blogging after we were nomadic – we were viewing everything through the mindset of how can i write about this, how can I be getting better photos, etc. We had become obsessed with documenting rather than enjoying the experience! Now that we have a home base and a better balance, all our camera gear and drone is worth it, but we still haven’t decided if we will take the drone with us on our upcoming trips. Don’t think we would take it all backpacking through South America either though! 🙂 Look forward to your new style of videos!

  17. If you ever make it to Cartagena, drop me a line or contact me on Facebook. I’ve settled there quite nicely for the past few months. Saludos!

  18. I don’t think you guys are crazy at all. I have decided not to be on Snapchat or do video because I feel it takes away from the moment too much and I don’t want or need to document everything. My boyfriend really wants a drone but I’m not so keen – they do take incredible pictures but I hate the noise

  19. I totally understand your decision! I only recently started travel blogging and during my 4 months in SEA I was already fed-up of the simple act of just “thinking” to take a specific photo. I couldn’t be bothered to take out my camera (forget about talking to myself in a video)….lol! I ended up just using my iPhone and I have lots of beautiful photos. Every time I see travelers claiming to “travel light” with 2-3 extra bags of gear I always think “not for me”! I really enjoy taking lots of photos and will continue to do so but I also want to revel in the moment. 🙂 (By the way, I probably would’ve been of those who were annoyed at you for taking photos and making videos during a pasta-making class…lol!).

  20. I think you’ve made the right decision. As someone who used to make their career in TV and film, I always avoided taking the video camera with me on travels. I didn’t want to burden myself with the gear and the time to get the “perfect” sequence. but now with small kids I find I want to capture everything when we are out and about. I’m keeping it to my little Panasonic HD video camera and my iPhone. And if it’s a bit rough around the edges, so be it. I think it makes it easier to relate to. Your iPhone video is a great example. Watchable and engaging! Thanks for keeping it real!

  21. I loved this honest post a lot. It’s so tempting to ‘try to capture everything’ but you end up spending less of your time enjoying everything you experience. Sometimes I feel bad because I don’t have the “perfect” or more pictures but it’s just good to put all the technology down. Good luck with all the travels and ENJOY! PS: Keep on writing and photographing though 😉

  22. Good decision! The footage was great, but I was wondering about all the efforts and risks it involved (annoying people (noisy), risk of robbery, waiting for nice weather, setting it up and carrying it, standing out as the rich travelers, …). I have always tried to travel as simply as possible, and even never had a ‘good’ camera. I still don’t have a smartphone by choice, and don’t take any electronic devices with me (apart from a digital camera and no GoPro, even not a selfie stick). I had 4 or 5 (analogue) cameras stolen over the years, so that made me weary. There were many occasions where I felt that even taking out my camera would spoil the vibe, so I didn’t. And occasionally I went sightseeing without any camera at all (such as in Caracas or Jo’burg, not the safest places). I’ve never felt comfortable sticking a camera in someone’s face either. Though asking permission first often spoils the effect. Too many people travel for the sole purpose of taking photos (Chinese style), ‘looking and experiencing through the lense’, rather than reflecting with their own eyes and taking their time. But I am just repeating what you are also saying above, so I can only ‘agree’ and encourage you to try without…

  23. Hey!
    the iphone video you made looks great! and for me, that looks super professional and fun! stick with that, if it works! can i ask, what software or program did you use to edit that video? is it just done using iMovie?
    Lisa 🙂

  24. Nope – it’s not just you – I totally relate! I’ve recently completed a trip around Europe, and although I’ve had a lot of fun taking and making videos (yet to be posted), I found myself putting the videos ahead of my enjoyment of the trip a couple of times. My travel companions were like “are you crazy?”. Good question – and good for you for making the decision that suits you best 🙂

  25. Good decision! I took a mirrorless DSLR with two lenses on our travels and picked up a GoPro on the way. Even that felt like too much camera gear.

    Some drone owners really annoyed us on our travels. We were on a liveaboard dive boat when one of our fellow travelers sent a drone over the gorgeous blue shallows while I was swimming. I thought it was hilarious when the drone malfunctioned and crash-landed in the sea! Its owner was not so amused when he retrieved it and found that the battery had melted!

    On the other hand, I’ve been to a lot of places recently where I’ve thought, “Dang, a drone could get better shots than I ever could.” I just hope we never get to the point where every beautiful place is literally buzzing with drones blocking people’s view.

  26. Oh man, I can’t believe you sold the drone! I loved those videos from Macedonia & Malta, but totally understand how it was detracting from the experience. Years ago, I traveled in Ioannina with my writer sister, who kept stopping to jot down extensive notes in a little notebook. I told her to put it away and be like Hemingway: fully live the moment. Write about it later (over a bottle of wine or two)! Good luck on your South American travels!

  27. As a person who has travelled with a drone, I will say that more and more borders are restricting you if you come through with a drone.

  28. I understand where you are coming from. My husband can go a bit overboard taking photos and video when we are on vacation and I think it takes us out of the moment. Sometimes he is so involved in taking photos that it starts to feel like I am on vacation by myself. That’s not good. I asked him to slow down on the picture taking on our last trip and it was much more enjoyable. I am curious; I see that this was posted in 2016, are there any items that you got rid of that you decided to bring back?

  29. love this article and I feel the exact same way! Also, beautiful shots with drones but they are so annoying I really am annoyed when someone is zooming around me with one while I am trying to enjoy a quiet sunset somewhere in the world.

  30. I love this post. It made me realise that, as someone just starting out doing travel photos and video, I need to keep things balanced and enjoy the moment too. Thanks for that insight.

Comments are closed.